Cecile (Ledoyen), along with best friend Samira (Verillon), scams and extorts her way through the Parisian bourgeoisie. But when the pair bungle an armed robbery, they find themselves in need of a lawyer. Enter Michel (Lanvin) - an attorney tired of the rat race and yearning to "making a difference". He adopts the case, takes her briefs (so to speak), and the sparks fly.
Cutting his cinematic teeth back in the mid-80s, as a co-writer for Luc Besson's debut features, Le Dernier Combat and Subway, Pierre Jolivet may not have enjoyed the mainstream success of his early collaborator, but he's not been without his moments. The director responsible for under-appreciated gems Force Majeure and Simple Mortel, here, however, is sticking to more well-trodden turf for his seventh session at the helm.
Based on George Simenon's novel, En Cas De Malheur (adapted for the screen by Claude Autant-Lara in 1958), the plot - married man falls head-over-heels for a sexy young thing - may initially seem to be the stuff of formula, but it explores some very dark avenues. Very quickly. Certainly not the most original of premises, but it's deftly realised, and ably executed by a solid cast, in particular the female leads. Carole Bouquet imbues her role of scorned wife with a profound dignity, while The Beach's Ledoyen is a revelation - positively melting the screen with her calculated sensuality.
Although not exempt from flaws - too many sub-themes are ill-resolved or simply bypassed - this still remains an accomplished study of the more sinister side to love, that manages to alienate its audience as much as consume it in the sense of overriding passion.